The Director of Export Promotion Division, South Africa Department of Trade & Industry (DTI), Kenneth Malatsi on Wednesday called for investments from India in different business prospects.
Addressing a seminar on Trade and Investment Opportunities in South Africa, organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Malatsi said, "Mining, agriculture, food processing, hydraulics, waste management, construction and IT power are the key areas to invest in South Africa."
Six companies have arrived with a South African delegation to hold business talks with their Indian counterparts.
Malatsi said, "South Africa has a healthy business partnership with India. The bilateral trade figure between the two countries stood at USD 14.7 billion in 2011-12."
Regarding the position of India as its trading partner in the world, he said, "India is our sixth largest trade partner in the world."
India has a trade share of 6-7 percent in the total international trades of the African nation.
"Mining accounts for 7-8 percent of the total GDP of the nation," he said. "However, the country´s GDP is moving at a snail´s pace of 2.5 percent."
The South African economy is the 27th largest economy in the world with an estimated GDP of USD 384.8 billion (according to 2012 statistics), the officials noted.
Emphasizing the need for investment in the mining sector, S C Pradhan, Senior Economic Advisor, South African High Commission said, "Renowned mining business giants of India like TATA, Jindal, Essel Mining etc., have sought huge investment potential in South Africa."
"Assuming the country´s potential in the telecom sector, Airtel & TATA have invested in S Africa," he added.
Regarding the stiff visa norms Pradhan said, "If you apply for a business or student or tourism visa, it takes 5 days to complete the process. But in most of the cases the problem occurs when exact documents are not produced before us."
Rajeev Singh, Director General, ICC said, "The Eastern part of India has a large mining base which is the key motive of the delegation to visit Kolkata."
Singh added, "We all know that South Africa is a world leader in mining. The country is famous for its abundance of mineral resources, accounting for a significant proportion of the total world production and reserves, and South African mining companies are key players in the global industry."
He said, "The South Africa's total reserve is quite remarkable with an estimated worth of (USD 2.5-trillion). Overall, the country is estimated to have the world's fifth-largest mining industry in terms of GDP value. It has the world's largest reserves of manganese and platinum group metals (PGMs), and among the largest reserves of gold, diamonds, chromite ore and vanadium."
"With South Africa's economy built on gold and diamond mining, the sector is an important foreign exchange earner, with gold accounting for more than one-third of exports."
"The industry is continually adapting to changing local and international global conditions, and remains a cornerstone of the economy, making a significant contribution to economic activity, job creation and foreign exchange earnings. Mining and its related industries are critical to South Africa´s socioeconomic development."
Singh asserted that, India and South Africa have revised the target of bilateral trade at USD 15 billion from an original target of USD 10 billion by the end of 2011-12. This was possible largely due to a surge in coal trading, gold, automotive items, pharmaceuticals and oil & gas.
"However, South Africa is quite keen to increase trade and investments from India. India has also set its sights on South Africa's mineral resources and is keen to form partnerships with local companies."
"We all know that India is battling with an ever increasing demand for power, and may face a coal shortfall of 189-million tons a year by 2015, which would lead to a twofold increase in imports. Traditionally, the country had been leaning on Indonesia for coal but now India is interested in forming partnerships and joint ventures on certain projects and investing in certain coal mines in South Africa."
Concluding he noted, "I hope the interaction and B2B meeting between companies and delegates would help to open up more business opportunities among the two countries."
(Reporting by Gourab Gupta)